Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary
- Fol. 11v (Greg I.22)
ye 21 of febreary 1594 . . . . ne . . . . Rd at the macke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijll
"The Mack" enjoyed a single performance by the Admiral's men at the Rose (its debut, according to Henslowe's "ne"); it appears in no other extant theater records.
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
References to the Play
Malone observed that "The Mack," like "The Set at Maw," named a card game (p. 296).
Collier repeated Malone's observation, then added his own guess that it "was perhaps written in consequence of the success of the Maw, already many times represented" (p. 49).
Fleay, BCED, as he had for "The Set at Maw," identified "The Mack" with a much later play by John Day, Come see a Wonder, 1623. He believed that Day's play was the second generation of Thomas Dekker's The Wonder of a Kingdom (1623), and that at some deeper level was the lost "Mack": "The original Dekker play was a "Card play" (see the last nine lines), probably The Mack, an Admiral's play of 1595" (1.136). Fleay further surmised a revival "at the Bull," by which he apparently meant not "The Mack" but the Dekker play, with its incorporated bits of "The Mack." Greg II
Gurr has nothing to say about "The Mack" beyond its having received one performance marked "ne" in Henslowe's records (p. 94).
Wiggins, Catalogue (#990) resurrects the suggestion of Collier that "The Mack" was "probably a follow-up to the previous year's Set at Maw. Addressing the possible story of the play, he suggests that the script might have "followed the structure and process of the game; but in this case the rules are unknown" (#990). He is therefore thinking of a card game other than "Maw," the rules of which are known (See For What It's Worth, below).
For What It's Worth
(repeat here Cash's description of "maw")
Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 8 January 2021.